Apple makes a fine system in iOS, but their documentation of it is sometimes lacking. This is especially true for localization topics like language codes. This week we’ve put together a very handy chart to answer a surprisingly difficult question: Which languages do iOS and the App Store support?
It is actually, sadly, and for little practical reason, a trick question. Apple supports a different list of language codes and regions on iOS than the iTunes App Store. This has some real-world consequences you might never have imagined, until you have already wasted your time and money on translation. For instance, you can localize your iPhone app into
Polish, (language code:
pl) but not its app description and keywords. Since those are important for discovering your app, you may not be as inclined to localize your app knowing this fact. Similarly, you can localize your app description into both Spanish for Spain
(es-ES) and Spanish for Latin America
es-MX, but your app itself can only speak one lonely version of Spanish (language code
es). In short:
iOS: Supports 30 languages but no regional forms
App Store: Supports 21 languages and 7 regions
We always pass this information on to developers who contact us about localizing their apps into all the languages of the App Store. But we also think Apple should make this information a bit more plain to see.
iOS Language Codes – The Missing Manual
At the request of the developers we work with, we’ve put together a Knowledge Base article with a complete chart. At a glance you’ll be able to see if the language you want is supported by either/both iOS and the App Store. We’ve also included those handy ISO-639 language codes you always ask us about. You’ll need those to create your en.lproj and other folders to store the localizations of your app in Xcode.